EAA Research Consultant
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Thanks Louis-Pierre, excellent information clarifying more on the probable etymology and application of this elusive term. There are so many of these kinds of anomalies among 'collectors terms' in ethnographic weapons it would be great if we could accomplish this kind of detail on some of the others.
In most cases they have become so firmly established in published material and colloquial use that it seems almost counterproductive to try to change at this point. Usually I try to use the proper term sa'if and 'nimcha' in parentheses.
This brings to mind also the 'Zanzibar' term for the forms of these sa'if which typically have transverse loop extending from crossguard over blade (sometimes termed 'D' guards) similar to the loops seen on many Italian storta and rapiers. I have not been able to find any reference or substantiation that assigns these specifically to 'Zanzibar' aside from the incited and allegedly 'documented' use of the classification in Tirri ("Islamic Arms: Mahreb to Moghul).
I agree with your more correct classification as 'Arab' in your work, which aligns with the term used by Buttin in his references.